Protecting Diplomats and Other Dignitaries

Diplomatic Security protects more dignitaries than any other agency in the U.S. Government. DS special agents guard the Secretary of State 24 hours a day, seven days a week, everywhere she or he goes in the world.

In addition to the Secretary, our agents protect the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and foreign dignitaries below the level of head of state who visit the United States (approximately 150 each year). Protection is afforded to a foreign dignitary on the basis of perceived threat level and that country's willingness to provide the same level of protection for our diplomats in their country. Through the years, DS has provided security to a diverse number of individuals. Among those foreign dignitaries who have received DS protection are foreign ministers, former heads of state, members of the British royal family, representatives of the Middle East peace delegations, the Secretary General of NATO, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yassar Arafat, Boris Yeltsin and Nelson Mandela (prior to their becoming heads of state), and the Dalai Lama.

Each fall, DS protects about 30 foreign dignitaries in New York during the United Nations General Assembly, a very personnel-intensive and demanding event. Preparations for UNGA begin in January and continue through early September, when virtually every special agent moves to New York for the duration of the General Assembly.

DS also provides security for special events. In recent years, DS agents protected the Israeli and Syrian foreign ministers during the Israel-Syria Peace Talks held in Shepherdstown, WV in 1999. More recently, DS agents worked in Salt Lake City at the 2002 Winter Olympics to protect athletes, visiting dignitaries, and sites. Currently, DS is working closely with the Greek Government on security issues surrounding the 2004 Olympics.

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